Traffic to top UK retail sites decreased 11% year-on-year on Black Friday, SimilarWeb reveals

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Traffic to the major UK online retail sites saw a year-on year decrease by almost 11% compared to Black Friday last year, according to findings from global leader in digital analytics, SimilarWeb.

The findings show that although retailers saw a positive one-day traffic increase on the day, as shoppers flocked online for deals, this failed to keep pace with the one-day growth on Black Friday last year.

The websites seeing the biggest year-on-year growth in traffic on Black Friday, based on combined mobile and desktop visits, were House of Fraser (26.6%), Debenhams (23.7%), New Look (15%), Etsy (15%) and Boots (10%).

The winners for one-day traffic growth on the day were John Lewis (71%), PC World (65%), Boots (45%) and House of Fraser (45%) – compared to visits from the previous day.

Despite the failure to achieve year-on-year growth on their desktop and mobile sites, some retailers saw their apps pick up the slack with Amazon seeing a 125% increase in usage. This was followed by Argos which saw a 115% rise in its active app usage on the day, eBay (35% increase in app use), Wish (36%) and Geek (31%).

Both Amazon and Argos started their sales a week before Black Friday, with Argos achieving a 22% traffic rise in the run up to the sales day and a further one-day increase of 30% on the day itself. Amazon saw a 12% rise in the run up to Black Friday, and a further 30% boost on the day itself, as their strategies appear to have paid off.

Thanksgiving registers biggest one-day increases in UK

Thanksgiving – the day before Black Friday – actually registered the biggest one-day increases for UK online retailers on web and mobile. Game registered a massive 117% in one-day growth on Thanksgiving, Asos and PC World (87%), Carphone Warehouse 77% and Curry’s (75%). Marks & Spencer registered a 60% growth on this day, but went on to register a 2.81% decline year-on-year on Black Friday.

Moshe Alexenberg, SimilarWeb Director of Digital Insights said: “Year-on-year growth on Black Friday declined as retailers spaced their promotions over a longer period. Shoppers realise there are deals to be had before and after and seem to be holding out for the best bargains.

“We are seeing in the way that shoppers visit the sites that they are keeping an eye on deals and returning throughout the day.

“This year however has been the year of the app, with the leading sites providing a seamless service across their apps, mobile and desktop.”